Party All Night Long…Or NOT!

I recently threw a party for my husband’s 60th birthday. He didn’t want the fuss, but the last half of year 59 hadn’t been all that fun for him, and I felt we needed to bring in his sixties with gusto.

We had a 1960s theme, decorating the house with beads, lava lamps, flower power petals, and peace signs. Dressed in their go-go skirts and tie dye, guests began arriving at 7pm, and soon we had a house full of friends and loved ones chatting, eating, and hanging loose. It was out of sight.

But apparently, once we hit 60, the only thing that can hang loose very long is our saggy skin. For by 9:31, everyone had split. When my mom called me around 10pm, I asked her how she knew the party would be over already. The response from the almost-octogenarian was “Y’all are 60…I’m surprised it went that long.” As my husband and I climbed into bed that night a little later than usual (10:30), we laughed about how the desire to party all night long is yet another thing we lose as we age.

There’s a lot, isn’t there? Skin elasticity, hair color, muscle mass, taste buds, metabolism, flexibility, our phones and glasses time and again, even though sometimes they’re in our hands and on our heads. And of course, there’s more…painful stuff; heartbreaking stuff.

The beauty of it all, though, is God’s mathematics, for as much that is lost, so much more is gained. And not just belly fat. Things that can never be taken from us; things we can carry with us the rest of the way; things that have nothing to do with what we see in the mirror or bank account. Some of these things have been given in exchange for those losses and heartaches; nearly all of these things have been given in exchange for a healthy dose of resilience. Things like courage and grace. Strength and compassion. Faith and wisdom. Freedom.

Especially freedom. A dear friend of mine has called her quinquagenarian decade (I know, I had to look it up, too) her “Freedom Fifties,” and I’m determined to adopt her fabulous attitude as I enter my “Swinging Sixties.” (Easy there, not that kind of swinging.)

The 1960s hipsters celebrated personal freedom by defying authority, growing their hair, wearing short skirts, and using mind-altering drugs. I’m doing that in my sixties too, only I’m doing a hard stop after the “celebrating personal freedom” part. I’m not only going to celebrate freedom, I’m going to embrace it. The freedom to forgive. The freedom to not lament what could have been or worry over what will be. The freedom to eat the entire cheesecake, leave the dirty dishes in the sink, and wear the yoga pants, even though my 60-year-old derriere in yogo pants will look like…well, a 60-year-old derriere in yoga pants.

At last. Finally. At almost 60, I am going to embrace the freedom to just be me.

Can ya’ dig it? Maybe not the yoga pants part, but the rest…you can dig that, can’t you?